MMD summer interns 2022

Multifunctional Materials Design research group hosted four interns in summer this year
Lab coat, folder and lab gloves. Photo by Aalto University, Kitty Norros

This year, four students did their summer internships in the Multifunctional Materials Design research group. Read more about their research work in the article below.

Noora Jäntti 

Bachelor's student, Bachelor's Programme in Chemical Engineering / Major in Bioproducts
Research area: multifunctional wood-based materials

SEM image of lignin nanoparticles on the wood cell walls. Image by Aalto University, Noora Jäntti
SEM image of lignin nanoparticles on the wood cell walls || Image: Aalto University / Noora Jäntti

"During the summer, I was continuing my project called 'Multifunctional superblack wood-based materials'. I started this project already last year, and now finally I am coming close to the finish line. Last summer, we started with the idea of adding lignin nanoparticles into delignified wood and carbonizing it, but we were not sure what kind of properties this material would have. Carbonized wood has been researched a lot with different end goals in mind, but the addition of lignin particles into delignified wood was something new. Last summer went with exploring the possibilities and doing a lot of different tests, which I continued during autumn and winter. In spring 2022, we decided to focus on solar steam generation and EMI shielding, so I prepared samples for those and carried out the tests. Now that the testing is done, the next step is to write a scientific paper of our findings.

During this time, I also wrote my bachelor’s thesis on the subject, which is a great opportunity for students working in research groups. Though I performed lots of work independently, both for the research project and the thesis, I always had the support from group members and my instructors. Throughout my time in the group, I have met a lot of great people and formed new connections with the academic world. I would highly recommend this opportunity of completing an internship in a research group to all students!"

Natural, delignified and carbonized wood samples. Photo by Aalto University, Mithila Mohan, Maija Vaara
Natural, delignified and carbonized wood samples || Photo: Aalto University / Mithila Mohan, Maija Vaara

Laura Koskelo 

Bachelor's student, Bachelor's Programme in Chemical Engineering / Major in Bioproducts
Research area: different techniques of card weaving and coils for machine learning

"During my summer internship in the MMD group, I got to know various card weaving techniques, as well as prepared and analyzed coils made of fishing lines for the machine learning project (AIyarn). Being part of the group gave me some valuable working experience and showed me how research is carried out. It was good to see that conducting research sometimes requires lots of patience, for example, when you need to make many almost similar samples but they are not working as expected. I also learned a lot about tablet weaving and the documentation of the job.

Multicolored yarns. Photo by Aalto University, Maija Vaara, Mithila Mohan
Photo: Aalto University / Mithila Mohan, Maija Vaara

Working in the MMD group has been a great opportunity for me to enter into the academic world, perform tasks in a supportive environment and begin my first research projects. I think that the atmosphere in this research group is very nice, as everyone supports each other and also a summer intern was welcomed into the team as an equal member. It was also really fullfilling to notice that my ideas were taken into account and I was able to choose some tasks which were of a particular interest to me. Being able to combine my studies in Aalto and my personal interest in crafts has been wonderful!"

Cell used for silver recovery onto FTO from copper chloride solution. Photo by Aalto University, Grégoire Mancel
Cell used for silver recovery onto FTO from copper chloride solution || Photo: Aalto University / Grégoire Mancel

Grégoire Mancel

Visiting student in 'Hydrometallurgy and Corrosion' (Hydromet) research group, engineering student in materials engineering (Polytech Nantes) 
Research area: metals recovery

Grégoire was studying electrochemical recovery of noble metals onto FTO (fluorine-doped tin oxide) electrodes from chloride solutions as nanoparticles for the EARMetal project.

Magnus Markkanen 

Master's student, Master's Programme in Engineering Physics / Major in Advanced Energy Technologies
Research area: perovskite solar cells

Glovebox. Photo by Aalto University, Magnus Markkanen
Glovebox || Photo: Aalto University / Magnus Markkanen

"My work during this two-month summer internship in the Multifunctional Materials Design research group mainly involved restarting the perovskite solar cell manufacturing facilities in Nanotalo. I spent two previous summers working in the New Energy Technologies research group at the Department of Applied Physics as a research assistant for a perovskite project. In that project, we manufactured perovskite solar cells and performed aging measurement for these cells. As many of the devices were left idle after the completion of the perovskite project, getting these devices and other manufacturing facilities up and running was the primary goal of my summer internship this year. Besides starting up the old setups again, I was also tasked to introduce some researchers from the MMD group to the manufacturing of perovskite solar cells in a controlled environment. 

Perovskite solar cells. Photo by Aalto University, Severi Kasurinen
Perovskite solar cells || Photo: Aalto University / Severi Kasurinen

I was successful in getting the devices working, and we were able to make four batches of perovskite solar cells this summer. Together with researchers from the Multifunctional Materials Design group we even succeeded in improving some manufacturing processes, such as substrate cleaning and electron transporting layer deposition methods. 

Though I already had previous experience working in a research group, I was able to learn a lot in the MMD group. Working in both applied physics and chemical engineering departments gave me a better understanding of how different fields of science operate, and this was a wonderful opportunity to do some networking. I joined the MMD group mid-June, and everyone was extremely welcoming towards me. The summer internship in the Multifunctional Materials Design research group was definitely a positive experience in terms of my future career."

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